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Easy Irish Brown Bread Recipe (with Oats)

This easy Irish Brown Bread recipe makes a loaf of quick bread with a soft tender crumb and a chewy crust. You’ll love the slightly sweet nutty flavor! Whether you are looking for a hearty loaf for stew, or just want homemade bread, Irish Brown Bread Recipe is perfect for any weeknight.

Whole loaf of Irish Brown Bread on a cooling rack with a blue cloth in the background.
Make this beautiful loaf of Irish Brown Bread with Oats

Look at that gorgeous loaf of bread! Even the ingredients for this Guinness loaf scream *beauty*. The dark colors and rich flavor of this bread make it a lasting favorite. With just a few simple steps, you can have hot, fresh, easy Irish Brown Bread on the table for dinner tonight.

Why You’ll Love this Guinness Brown Bread Recipe

Incredible texture. This bread has a texture that’s soft and tender from the combination of flours and the addition of molasses. This is a quick bread, so it’s super easy to make too!

Rich flavor. While there isn’t a distinct flavor from the Guinness beer, the buttermilk and Guinness gives it a creamy flavor with rich undertone.

Fast. Because it is a quick bread, you can have hot bread on the table in about an hour. Wow.

St. Patrick’s Day. This Brown Bread recipe is the perfect accompaniment to your St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef menu.

What is Irish Brown Bread?

We love traditional Irish soda bread but believe it or not an authentic Irish Brown Bread recipe is more popular.

Irish bread recipes were made with whole wheat flour because white flour wasn’t readily available and both bread recipes use the chemical reaction of the baking soda and buttermilk to help the bread rise instead of using yeast.

The stout beer in this brown bread recipe gives our quick bread recipe a robust flavor that darkens to a beautiful brown color as it bakes.

Ingredients for this Irish Brown Bread Recipe

Ingredients for Guinness Brown Bread: Whole Wheat Flour, Bread Flour, Rolled Oats, Guinness beer, buttermilk, baking soda, molasses, salt, brown sugar, and butter. Hostess At Heart
Easy Irish Brown Bread Ingredients
  • Whole Wheat Flour. I love using a mixture of flours in bread because the added gluten from whole wheat flour improves the texture so much!
  • Bread Flour. Help lighten up the loaf, because using all whole wheat flour would be too dense. Bread flour adds a little bit more chew to the bread. You can absolutely substitute with all-purpose flour 1:1.
  • Rolled Oats. We prefer using old-fashioned rolled oats instead of quick oats. These oats add flavor and maintain their texture to this traditional Irish brown bread.
  • Salt.
  • Baking Soda. Instead of yeast, this quick bread uses baking soda, buttermilk, and stout to rise much more quickly.
  • Brown Sugar. We use dark brown sugar, which just keeps reinforcing the color of the bread.
  • Molasses. Adds classic flavor and sweetness to the bread.
  • Guinness Beer. Ireland’s famous Guinness stout is the perfect liquid for this gorgeous Irish bread. It adds flavor, creaminess, and beauty. Both it and the buttermilk need to be at room temperature so plan ahead.
  • Buttermilk. This is the liquid that is left behind when butter is made. It has a tangy or sour flavor and helps the bread rise. Set this out with the beer about an hour before you want to start baking so that they have time to reach room temperature.
  • Butter. Unsalted is preferred but salted can be used as well.

How To Make Irish Brown Bread

Please note, that the printable recipe card has ingredient quantities, complete instructions, and nutritional information. The following is a quick overview of the recipe.

Step One. Prepare everything to make Irish Brown Bread.

A top-down view of a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
Line loaf pan with parchment paper

Preheat the oven, get out all of your ingredients, and prepare your pan with parchment paper before you start mixing the ingredients. Because, once the batter is mixed, you want to get it in the oven as soon as possible to take advantage of all that chemistry happening.

Step Two. Mix the dry ingredients.

Using a wooden spoon and a large mixing bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, bread flour, salt, baking soda, and rolled oats Once this is mixed, add the brown sugar.

Step Two. Add the wet ingredients to your Guinness Brown Bread.

Pouring the stout into the dry ingredients.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk, Guinness, melted butter, and molasses. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together only until the dry ingredients are moistened. Overmixing will cause the crumb to be tough.

A top-down view of sticky brown bread dough - Hostess At Heart

Don’t worry – this bread is supposed to have a sticky dough. We spoon it into the loaf pan and then spread it to the sides with a wet spatula or fingers! Add a sprinkle of additional oats to the top.

A loaf pan filled with the Irish Brown Bread dough, smushed to the edges.

Step Three. Bake your bread!

Bake until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190 °F. Let it cool before slicing.

Hostess Tips

It’s normal for this bread to show a crack or “blow out” on one or both sides as it bakes. The dough expands as it bakes.

Sideview of a loaf of brown bread sprinkled with oats. The side edge is showing a slight blowout in the loaf.
A crack or blowout is normal.

I really recommend using an instant-read thermometer with this recipe. You can’t tell if bread is baked by color or by tapping it until you get a “hollow sound”. Doing so may result in overbaking. We bake to an internal temperature of 190ºF.

As tempting as it is to slice into warm homemade bread, it can tear or get smashed until it has time to set up at room temperature. Let the bread cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before slicing.

Don’t have buttermilk? You can make your own. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar to one cup of whole milk. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes.

Front tableview of a loaf of brown bread with the first two slices laying in front of the loaf. The top slice is torn in half showing a soft crumb.

How to Serve Guinness Brown Bread

Serve thick slices of Irish brown bread with a bowl of corned beef and cabbage soup or a hearty stew. This beautiful bread is delicious with our homemade honey butter made with rich Irish butter. Thick slices of bread make amazing French toast too.

One of the amazing things about Irish brown bread is that it can be made so quickly — you can always have hot fresh bread ready for supper! Even on a work night!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use Guinness Beer in this recipe?

No, you don’t have to use Guinness Beer. While this bread gets some flavor and color from Guinness, and it is a traditional element of the bread, you can substitute it with an equal amount of buttermilk or thinned yogurt. Or whatever stout you have on hand. If the alcohol is an issue for you, Guinness now has a non-alcoholic beer.

Partially sliced loaf of Irish Brown Bread in a basket. Hostess At Heart

How To Reheat & Store Irish Brown Bread

Best way to store Guinness Brown Bread?

Keep the bread at room temperature for up to five days in an airtight container or bag.

Can I freeze this Irish Brown Bread Recipe?

Yes, you can freeze a whole loaf or individual slices. Use freezer-quality plastic bags or an airtight container. Thaw the whole loaf at room temperature. Thaw Individual slices in the microwave or toast in a toaster.

Sliced loaf of Guinness Brown Bread Recipe on a cutting board. Close up view of front slice to show texture. Hostess At Heart

If you enjoyed Irish Brown Bread, I think you’ll enjoy these too!

Homemade bread on the table is a comforting, warm tradition that brings a smile to every face and brings them home for more!

If you love making a St. Patrick’s Day dinner, don’t forget the homemade bread. Try making your own Molasses Brown Bread Rolls, Simple Waterford Blaa Rolls, or Irish soda bread recipe. If you love sourdough bread, our Sourdough Pumpernickel and Rye Sourdough makes amazing leftover corned beef sandwiches!

I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.

Whole loaf of Irish Brown Bread on a cooling rack with a blue cloth in the background.

Irish Brown Bread

Author: Julie Menghini
Easy Irish Brown Bread recipe makes a loaf of quick bread with a soft crumb and a chewy crust. You'll love the slightly sweet nutty flavor!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine American, Irish
Keyword: Brown Bread, Homemade bread, Irish Bread
Servings: 10 slices

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tsp salt
  • tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup brown sugar we use dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 cup Guinness Beer room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 2 tbsp butter unsalted preferred, melted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Prepare a 9×5 loaf pan but spraying it with non-stick cooking spray or greasing it with shortening or butter. Lay a strip of parchment paper across the width of the pan, leaving extra over the sides. Spray the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Using a large mixing bowl, add the whole wheat flour, bread flour, salt, baking soda, and rolled oats. Mix until combined. Add the brown sugar and mix thoroughly.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk, Guinness, melted butter, and molasses. Stir together until combined. The batter will be sticky.
  • Spread the batter in the prepared loaf pan, smoothing it evenly. Garnish with additional oats.
  • Bake for 55-60 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190 °F.
  • Remove the bread from the oven. Carefully pick up the loaf out of the pan by the overhanging parchment paper and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack, approximately 2 hours.

Notes

This recipe makes a large loaf but can be split into 2 smaller loaves.
Test doneness with an instant-read thermometer. Since it is a large loaf, using a toothpick is difficult.
The bread gains color as it bakes.
Store completely cooled bread at room temperature in an airtight container. 

Nutrition

Calories: 249kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 7gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 446mgPotassium: 315mgFiber: 4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 113IUCalcium: 66mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!
Sliced loaf of Guinness Brown Bread Recipe on a cutting board. Close up view of front slice to show texture. Hostess At Heart
Recipe Rating




Laura Ashley Johnson

Monday 8th of January 2024

I’m gonna make this again for St. Patrick’s Day! It had the best texture and flavor!!

Julie Menghini

Friday 12th of January 2024

Thanks, Laura! We will be making this one for St. Pat's too!

Ellen

Sunday 7th of January 2024

This is such an easy quick bread! I made 2 loaves and froze one for later. The first loaf didn't last long!

Julie Menghini

Monday 8th of January 2024

Thank you, Ellen! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it!

Laura Ashley Johnson

Wednesday 3rd of January 2024

The texture of this bread was 10/10!! So good warm with butter!

Julie Menghini

Friday 5th of January 2024

I love this one too, Laura. Thank you!

Janelle

Monday 1st of January 2024

This was AH-MAZING. My house smelled divine and a slice of this warm with butter, is heaven on earth. So so tasty! Highly recommend.

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 3rd of January 2024

Thank you so much, Janelle! Baking bread is our favorite smell.

Lynn

Monday 1st of January 2024

The kids loved it and that's a huge testament to its deliciousness!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 3rd of January 2024

That's definitely a plus! Thank you, Lynn!

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